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tv   Happy Chandler Earle Clements and Thruston Morton  CSPAN  December 20, 2015 9:10am-10:01am EST

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created may me pink and click on bangs. nancy reagan saw her name to stay can only -- saw her name mistakenly a list of communist in 1940.ers she appealed to ronald reagan for help. she later became his wife. this is in first ladies, the lives of 45 iconic american women. it makes a great gift for the holidays. a look at the personal lives of every person laid he in history. ascertaining women, and how legacy resonates. c-span's book "first ladies" is available as a hardcover or e-book from your favorite bookstore or online seller. order your copy today. next on american history tv,
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senate majority leader mitch mcconnell giving a lecture on the rivalry between 2 kentucky politicians who served as governor and in the senate in century. happy chandler and earle ofments led to the election there should morton in 1950 six. transylvania university and the henry clay center for statesmanship hosted the hour-long talk. thank you very much. it is a pleasure to be here in transylvania. i would like to thank president vetter, andel the transylvania center for hosting me. it is veterans day, a good day to remember those who served our country over the years. i want to acknowledge my good chandler.n
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he and his family are descendents of one of the people i'm going to be talking about today. kentucky has been well served with ben as the executive director of the kentucky humanities council, and i want to thank him for sharing some of the antidotes i will use. i want to thank chris mosher and karem, and tom appleton. all of whom have contributed in one way or another, not only to my remarks today, but on a series of speeches i've have been doing on prominent kentucky senators. we will discuss the lives and intersecting careers of three men. helped -- helped to define much of kentucky politics for the 20th century.
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they served as governor and senator. they were intensely ambitious. they rose from modest origins. both were democrats, born in western kentucky. both were accomplished athletes coaches youth, and fine thereafter. both had a gift for remembering names and faces. in true kentucky style, they carried on a few that -- a feud that literally lasted for decades. they are albert benjamin happy chandler and earle clements. despite their similarities, the two men, in other ways, could not have been more different. happy was colorful, extroverted, who was literally larger-than-life.
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he was elected in large part due to his charisma and absolute zest for campaigning. the reserved, methodical, leaving .othing to chance happy was a great speaker. clements was not. by and large, chandler was conservative and clements was .iberal the third man i will talk about was a direct beneficiary of the chandler-clements feud. republican thurston ballard morton. they hope to launch his distinguished career. chandler-clements divide was significant because for most of the 20th-century kentucky had twice as many registered democrats as republicans. there and that it could -- parenthetically, i do not think
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that is changing. [laughter] it is important to deviate from the text occasionally. what that meant, of course, was it was hard for republicans to win elections. one way the gop could prevail where one factions of the democratic party split. this occurred in the 1956 kentucky race when the clements-schindler factions were at each other's throats. this resulted in morton being alike did in 1956, lodging his notable career. let's begin with the hand known as happy. he was born into poverty in 1898 in henderson county. his mother left his family when he was a young boy. one of his earliest memories was following her, sobbing, as she
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walked to the carriage that would take her away from the family with the rest of his childhood. her departure meant that chandler's father, a hardscrabble farmer had to raise happy and his brother by himself. he had to go to work to help make inns me. he worked on the farm and in school. his hard work faced -- paid off academically when he was accepted to a college that you may be familiar with, transylvania. chandler said that legend had it that he arrived at transylvania with nothing more than a red sweater, a five dollar bill, and a smile. here,ckname originated when an upperclassman saw him walking across the campus with his usual, quick stride, smiling
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and whistling. this senior down to him happy. the nickname stuck. it coulder recognized, have been worse. at least the senior did not call him "stinky." [laughter] he was a natural athlete. at one point he played semipro baseball. his lifelong interest and involvement in sports flowed naturally from that early activity. he graduated from transylvania and completed law school at u.k., he moved to practice law and coach football at the local high school. his move to verse sales allowed him to meet his future wife. mildred was southern to the core. she still thought the word " damn yankee" was one word.
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after they went in 1925, happy thatnter "-- name to "mama." he said the durability of their relationship was a tribute to his patients. two-week time when he had not spoken a word to mildred. his friend, concert, asked what the trouble was. happy said there was no trouble, he just did not want to interrupt her. [laughter] personality,ing happy entered politics. in no time he became a state senator. in 1931 he was elected lieutenant governor are you served alongside fellow democrat
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-- a fellow democrat. they differed on a number of issues, including implementation of a sales tax, which chandler believed harm to the poor. they differed on the need for primaries as opposed to conventions, which would typically be controlled by the party bosses. chandler favored primaries. what happened next displays one of chandler's signature traits, audacity. audacity. under kentucky's constitution, if the governor left the state, the lieutenant governor was acting governor. in 1935, the governor made a big mistake. he departed kentucky to go to washington, leaving happy,
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temporarily, in charge. happy sees the moment, called a special session of the legislature, and required candidates to be elected through primaries. this enraged the governor. while he was later able to plot some of the impact, he could do nothing to dim the political stardom that happy had gained them this bold maneuver. acclaim wave of popular happy ran for governor in 1935. governor picked a candidate he hoped could defeat happy. that was tom ray. his campaign manager was earle clements. of chandler versus clements in the 1935 race started a political feud that would have a profound impact on
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kentucky politics for more than a quarter of a century. it did so by crystallizing within them state democratic party. the result of the 1930 five race was 37-year-old chandler was elected to the state's highest office. agree that chandler's first term was the most significant in state history. during the great depression, chandler helped to get the state on firm financial footing. he constructed schools, hospitals, roads, government, repealed the hated sales tax. the problem for happy was that kentucky governors could not run for reelection. happy was young and ambitious. he had to look beyond the governor's mansion if he wanted
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to continue his public career. as a result, in 1938, chandler .howed his audacity once again this time, he challenged an incumbent democrat in the u.s. senate primary. any old not just garden-variety incumbent, mind you. it was the majority leader of the senate, berkeley. be, shall i say, a spirited contest. it is not in my text, but i remember the photograph in kentucky history books for some time of president roosevelt coming down to make a speech for berkeley. happy jumped into the car with them. [laughter]
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literally, jumped into the car with them. so the picture was taken, it had them all in there together. you cannot tell who rows of more -- who roosevelt was for. laughter] to give you a sense of how toxic the environment was, 10 the one -- chandler charged that barkla y's had poisoned him. chandler had a few peers and no. there's. he had a prodigious memory. he would ask for help of a relative. he would saying at a moments home." "my old kentucky rator. a superb o
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used to say, i have a strong feeling no one is saved after 20 minutes. short speeches, and never told a dirty joke. with the help of roosevelt and the rival faction, which included earle clements, chandler was defeated in the primary. then a senate seat opened up. he was appointed and won a special election next year and a senate.m in 1942 to the it was eventful for several .easons he was an outspoken critic of america's strategic priorities and world war ii. in the aftermath of parole he expressed his belief that they japan-firste a policy rather than focusing on
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theater.ean churchill was intent on the u.s. fighting in europe first. in 1943, as a member of the military chamber, and they went off on a 63-day inspection of american forces overseas. during the voyage, chandler met winston churchill and was able to smuggle his friend, comedian bob hope, in to meet the prime .inister his career on capitol hill demonstrates that the senate is not everyone's cup of tea. it is a collegial, not an executive party. happy was better suited to be an executive. as his longtime friend recalled, chandler did not like the senate because he was not the boss. he probably double he did not kley the senate because bar
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was majority leader. in 1945, chandler jumped at the chance to play baseball. he loved they spot and being commissioner brought a nice a raise. he is known for his integration of major league days paul. he could have done as his predecessor, to oppose integration. he did no such thing. dodgeritted the brooklyn executive branch to bring jackie robinson to the major league am and express public support for robinson in the press. he made it clear to opposing teams that race baiting robinson would not be tolerated. i will note that another famed kentucky and held robinson, my childhood hero, henry reese.
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over time, chandler's and defendant's cost him support among baseball owners. inleft after six years office. after leaving the commissioner's inice, he ran for governor 1955, 20 years after his first race. in the primary he was challenged by a little-known judge named , who had the backing of the democratic action, led by a man named earle clements. it was a bitterly fought race. chandler prevailed behind the andan "be like your pappy, vote for happy." [laughter] .hose were the good old days while the second term is not as
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well-known as his first, there is the u.k. medical center which bears his name. in 1956 he called out the national guard during an 18-day standoff to integrate schools in sturges, clay, and will strengthen turkey. stern, will kentucky. a livinghad become symbol of the commonwealth. in 1986, chandler was elected as the kentuckian other the century. he regularly appeared at senior night at u.k. basketball games to sing "my old kentucky home" before the tipoff. he became one of a handful of kentuckians to be elected to the
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baseball hall of fame. sailles before he was 91. his last word was "mama." mama herself passed away four years later. clements was born two years before chandler in 1896 in morgan field in western kentucky. he was one of six children. his father was a lawyer and a local political leader. limits attended u.k., where he was a football standout. he would later become an accomplished high school coach. attending seminars held by none other than rockman. he served in the u.s. army during world war i.
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while he was never sent overseas, he rose to the rank of in.ta personality wise, clements was inscrutable. servic, anda he had a temper. one journalist described his speeches as masterpieces of mediocrity. [laughter] .e was an extremely hard worker he was a tremendous political organizer and strategist. kuan longtime observer of the kentucky political scene said, he may have been the greatest political intellect of the 20th century in kentucky. those who watched clements commented frequently on his ability to perceive the result of each action, and the result of that result. climate across -- clement's
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approach was subtle. he remarked he preferred the quiet style of doing things. one gop rival said, i think he solved the riddle of politics. most of us stand in front of the curtain to take the bows. he stands in the back of the curtain so that he never gets the blame. unlike chandler's meteoric rise, ascent was steady and gradual. he followed his father into public life. 1920 two, hein served as sheriff, county clerk, and county judge of union county. county judge, he observed there was no better practical schooling and .overnment then in that office
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as a former county judge myself, i would not disagree. in 1927, he married the daughter of a union county official, sarah blue. they had a daughter named elizabeth who would share her father's love of public service. she would serve with lady bird johnson and lady mondale. after his 10 year he was elected to the state senate in 1941, quickly rising to majority leader. as awing a brief stand congressman, where he served with the lawmaker from the louisville named hurston morton -- inamed thruston morton, if he ran for governor in 1930 seven. it looked as if his republican opponent would be morton, but he decided against a run.
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clements had many achievements. he succeeded because he worked with his former colleagues in the legislature. weight hardball. he would go to the house or senate chamber. if a legislator voted against him, he would ominously point his pencil at the dissident and make a mental note. undeniable.were he created the modern state police and the state park system. he took steps to integrate u.k.. like chandler, he left before the end of his term to pursue a senate seat. he was elected to fill the seat left by alben barkley when he became vice president. unlike chandler, clements
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thrived in the senate. he became an ally of the rising star and soon-to-be democratic leader lyndon johnson. was promoted to senate democratic whip, the number two spot. this was in part because clements had good relations with conservative and liberal democrats. an important attribute in a closely divided senate. when the democrats regained the geordie in 1955, johnson became majority leader and clements became majority whip. he served as the majority with from 1953 to 1957. one of only three kentuckians to serve in that position. the others are wendell ford and myself. is with his own -- the whip responsible for counting votes
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and persuading senators to support legislation promoted by the majority of the party. it is a hard job. in july of 1955 when the majority leader lyndon johnson had a heart attack. this left democrats without a majority leader for the last few weeks of the session. for the next 29 days, clements served as acting majority leader. this is during his first term. lead thehe had to senate without appearing to be a 's absents.lbj a difficult balance to strike. had to perform to the satisfaction of johnson. can you imagine that? he remained a demanding task hospital bed.s
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after visiting johnson, clements reported back on the views regarding a particular piece of legislation. haveuld like the bill to been taken up yesterday and passed the day before yesterday. that was lbj. succeededss, clements in holding together the democrats, and his efforts garnered favorable reviews. 1955 was important for clements, not only because of his work as acting majority leader, but because happy chandler was running for the governor's office. clements remained a power broker in the state. as one of the head of the dueling factions. he vigorously opposed chandler's campaign. he and his ally, the incumbent
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lmesrnor, hand-picked hom .o oppose chandler focused on the benefactors. despite the best efforts, chandler travailed and was elected in the fall. you can imagine what is coming next. the next year, the shoe was on the other foot. as governor, chandler had the control of the state government and earle clements was up for reelection in the senate. wasents was -- chandler decidedly unhappy about the prospects of clements serving another turn. he was looking for payback. he was looking, of course, to defeat clements.
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given that he was a prominent leader of the senate leadership, many expected that clements would sail to reelection. they did not account for a number of factors, even aside from the hostility of the sitting governor. one was the republican president dwight eisenhower, who was popular in kentucky and up for reelection. another challenge was clements' opponent. his former colleague thruston morton. to top it off, he faced the bane of legislators facing reelection. johnson pressed the senate to include benefits for the disabled in the social security program. this was given strong opposition from the state's doctors in kentucky.
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clements promised he would oppose the legislation. lbj found himself one vote short. clements reversed himself and cast a deciding vote. , ike, tination of happy hurston, and the disability vote proved too much for the clements campaign. he lost in a very tight race. the only election he lost in his 36 year career. he would never again hold elective office. clements was not done with politics. in 1950 term ended seven, johnson appointed him the director of the democratic campaign committee, much to the .rritation of governor chandler in 1959 clements got some
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revenge when his favorite candidate for governor, the now better known holmes, bested chandler's proxy. -chandler feud lived on. of ill health,me he passed away in 1985. -- to put iton mildly, his upbringing was different than that of chandler or chandler. he was from a wealthy family. his father was a doctor, his mother's family had made a fortune through flouur
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millilng. -- through flour milling. he was educated at a private school in virginia and graduated from you. morton was our bane -- was urba ne with a sly sense of humor. was a republican. after graduating, morton returned to kentucky, ultimately becoming chairman of the board in the family business. he would marry and have 2 children. after the u.s. he came involved in world war ii, he rose to lieutenant commander in the navy. upon returning from the war, he .as drawn to public life
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after years of democratic control of the white house and congress, and with the depression and the world war behind them, the american people were in the mood for change. morton recognize that 1946 would for the gop, and ran for a seat in the house of representatives. remarkedack, morton about that particular year, anybody that had run on the republican ticket without a jail record would have been elected. , who had no jail record, was elected. the first race was not without this steps without missteps. new technology of voting machines operated with
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hand levers. at one rally a morton supporter was explaining how to use the new machines. she informed the crowd, just pull the lever. to congressmorton is just as easy as flushing your own toilet. [laughter] in 1952, morton decided he had had enough of the house, but still made important political moves. he was the only kentucky delegate to back eisenhower at the 1952 convention. else supported and he ran the campaign of john sherman corp. are. .- john sherman cooper he was handpicked by the newly elected president to serve as the secretary of state for
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congressional affairs. from 1953e position until 1950 six, advocating for eisenhower's foreign policy agenda. eisenhower reached out to morton , urging him to run against in thes in the senate, hope republicans would retake the majority following the 1956 election. i remember senator morton saying he did not think he had a snowball's chance in hell, but he ran against clements. was sophisticated, east coast educated, and was from louisville. things to learn about running for state-wide office. as he recalled, he had represented the district which was strictly metropolitan. he had no problems with agriculture.
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his greatest agricultural problem was finding lower seeds for window boxes. the race against clements was tight. so tight that morton went to sleep at 2:00 a.m. on election night not knowing the outcome. the next morning the headline blared clements leads morton. ikee know, thanks to happy, , and the vote on social security, morton narrowly defeated clements. he was elected to the senate republican leadership team. morton, like clements, transitive -- transitive to divide-- transcended the . it resulted in his being mentioned throughout the 1960's as a possible presidential or vice presidential candidate, or a potential senate republican
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leader. it is not in my text, but you would be to know that the republican senator who ran against edward derksen for the senate republican leader in 1959 was john sherman cooper. obviously, senator cooper did not win. 1959, eisenhower approached morton with a request. would he had the republican national committee? mr. president, you must be at the bottom of the barrel if you are asking me, he replied. eisenhower replied, damn right, i am. [laughter] as it turned out, morton was a good fit. 1959aded the rnc from
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to 1961. he was responsible for paying the public face of the party at fundraisers and organizers. he was hailed as the best rounded national chairman we have had in years. like clements, he was a hard-hitting cars and -- hard-hitting partisan. he was known to say, if, as a candidate, you do not say it strongly, you will wind up in the want ads. 1962,as on display in when the democrats nominated wilson wyatt, who was then the lieutenant governor, to challenge morton for the senate. throughout the campaign morton wyatt on his liberal ties. international attention.
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president john f. kennedy came to speak in favor of wyatt at freedom hall. a prominent senator also visited and made a few appearances, including one supporting morton. that was barry goldwater, the head of the national republican senatorial committee. i remember this well, because i collegepresident of the republicans at the u of l and invited goldwater to speak at the university. he accepted my invitation, and i introduced him that day. i naively thought he was coming because i had invited him. [laughter] as a 20-year-old college kid, i assumed that goldwater accepted the invitation because he wanted to come to the u of l. being older and wiser, it is
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clear that cold water have mayed -- that the goldwater have wanted to visit to give them something public to do. his speech sounded suspiciously like someone laying the groundwork for a presidential run in 1964, which is what he did. mar --1962 race, morton had a helping hand from happy chandler. he was positioning himself for another run at the governor's 1963.n in his motto was "abc in 63." believed he could aid his own cause by helping morton in 1962. the races were back to back.
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it was not subtle. in many counties, the chandler offices were next to the morton offices. the irony is that chandler helped . get elected, but fell short in his own campaign. impacttionalism had an on all levels of kentucky politics. not just in the u.s. senate .aces, but in other contexts in the spring of 1966 i was at the law school. i wanted to be the president of the student bar association. as a louisville republican, you can understand my obvious handicap. [laughter] it was not an enviable position to be in. i needed to have a good strategy to overcome the handicap.
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i emulated the approach taken by senator morton and formed a coalition of republican and pro-democrat law students. like morton, i was able to win my election. you may ask, how did i know who the chandler democrats were? it wasn't hard. i went to all of my democratic classmates who did not have a part-time job at the administration. [laughter] i am not embellishing. that is exactly what we did. you'll get a kick out of this, at the time the most prominent chandler democrat was bill kenton. i think he has had an epiphany along the way. after his reelection in 1962,
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morton was tapped to succeed goldwater on the position that he had held. was chargedb morton with recruiting candidates and helping them with their campaigns. add the honor of following in morton's footsteps as the head .f this committee until 2001 he played an important policy role, especially in foreign affairs. in 1967 he was the key figure in etting the u.s. -- the johnson administration had been hesitant to pursue the theement due to all-consuming attention to the vietnam conflict. the senate republican leader, edward jackson, opposed the treaty. morton, took the initiative not only for his party, but for the
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senate. first, he persuaded former president eisenhower to embrace the treaty, which removed potential partisanship. he used his knowledge on the subject matter and his reputation as a former state department official to convince 2/3 of his fellow senators to favor the pact, forcing edward derksen to change his position. when he succeeded in securing republican support, he prodded president johnson to weigh in with the democrats. obliged, and the senate approved. his success reflects how power in the senate often fluctuates, depending upon the circumstances. individual senator, through a combination of timing, tenacity, political acumen, can seize an
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. his and derive an outcome stature within the republican party, coupled with his foreign policy credentials, made his next step highly publicized. of 1967, the previously hawkish morton publicly changed his position on the vietnam war. his change of heart sent shockwaves through official washington and undermined support the president johnson's handling of the conflict. morton, like chandler and clements, was an advocate for civil rights. despite the highest aim he was held in 1968, he shocked his colleagues by announcing that he would not run for reelection. it. is how he explained
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he said, i suppose i am just sore.track -- track he continued to advocate for kentucky causes, serving as chairman of the board of churchill downs. he passed away in 1982. my friends, the interrelated careers of happy chandler, earle ,lements, and thruston morton left their impact on kentucky and the nation. andrivalry between chandler chandler is significant because -- between chandler and clements , it is important because it defined politics for nearly 30 years. march the turning point. it ended the career of clements and marked the beginning of morton.
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illustration of the principle that the personal and political are often, inextricably, intertwined. more broadly, it suggests that the legacies which result from such rivalries can reverberate long after the combatants have left the stand. thank you, so much. [applause]
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>> thank you, senator, for that very appropriate veterans day presentation. thank you for joining us. we hope to see you in the near future. thank you. [applause] this weekend, the c-span cities tour of the hosted by our charter cable companies, explores the history of westchester, massachusetts. it played a key role in the american revolution and the women's suffrage movement. it was a key contributor to the interests through revolution and was known for its contributions. on book tv we will learn about who publish,
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79.gress and poverty" in 18 and we will visit one of the largest repositories in the periodicals related to the united states. and that greenwood will discuss her book about the migration of african-americans to the area after the civil war. hadvery town in the county one. there were quite a few freed man aid societies organized. at this time that was very forward-looking. very progressive. announcer: we will visit built forhall, members of the mechanics which association. it originally served as a learning center, but was also a
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platform for social and cultural activities, inc. looting women's rights rallies. >> the first convention happened before the hall opened. afterwards, most came here to speak. you can is where everything have end. -- where everything happened. announcer: we will tour the collection of the physicist robert daughter, known as the father of modern rocketry. we will learn about his hisribution through diaries. his firstributed to interest in space travel and interest in a career in science 1899 when he went outside with a saw and hatchet to trim the dead branches off of the cherry three. he climbed the tree. he made himself a ladder.
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tree, hewas up in the looked down on the fields around him. he thought, how wonderful it would be to build some kind of a device that could leave the earth and may be trapped -- and maybe travel to mars. store today tour00 eastern -- cities today at 2:00 eastern. each week until the 2016 presidential election, american history tv brings your archival coverage of past presidential races. on road to the white house rewind, we look back at the 2000 campaign of republican george w. first trip to new hampshire after announcing his candidacy in june 1989. the texas governor went on to win the republican nomination, and then defeated


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